Ready. Set. Jump In.

In March 2017, I decided to actually investigate homeschooling Kaira after a fairly rough and uninspired year of public school and the sixth grade. A month later, I was convinced homeschooling was best for Kaira and I. Truth be told however, Kaira had decided nearly a year before me that homeschooling was the best thing for her. Once I decided that we were going to homeschool, the question became how were we going to do it… I scoured the internet for homeschool curriculum. I asked friends what they used in their homeschool. I decided we would homeschool for FREE and we would have a great curriculum. (Insert more internet searching here.) I stumbled upon Easy Peasy. (God bless this mom who has provided an ENTIRE curriculum from Pre school to 12th grade FOR FREE.) I read reviews and joined Facebook groups. Upon coming to the conclusion that THIS would be our curriculum, I masked my enthusiasm and showed Kaira- because of course I wanted her to be just as excited about schooling a different kind of way, right?

Kaira responded with a mere, “I like it”, but I think she was trying to calculate and determine if this was really happening. (I should probably mention that I was already in love with this internet jewel and so it was definitely happening.) After reading up on my state laws, I decided that we would not “officially” homeschool until the coming year. I say officially, because my brain was operating on public school waves. In public school, Kaira struggled in math and had we continued to walk the public school path; she was destined to fail the subject and revisit it during summer school. I also wasn’t wholly convinced that Kaira or I could handle the relaxed environment homeschool provided. So, in order to put my anxieties to rest, I told Kaira that she would do summer school math at home, using our chosen curriculum and we would see how it went before I did anything drastic like withdrawing her from school… And we were off. During the day, she went to school and when she came home in the evening, she was doing 30 minutes of homeschool summer school math. By May, she was telling people that she was “quitting” school at the end of the year and I had left the public school road completely. In fact, the only reason she went to school in those last months was because we didn’t want truancy officers showing up on our door step; but if we’re being honest with each other- her attendance was “less than desirable” to say the least.

By mid June, I had added cursive writing, letter writing (actual hand written letters to newly discovered friends, A.K.A Pen Pals), music (in the form of a FREE online summer music camp), reading and some science to our summer school math program (having decided that we would school year round, of course). Let me tell you- Kaira did not bat an eye. She actually became more and more excited. She did school in her pajamas, in the morning, at night, in the car or wherever she wanted and she was loving it! Don’t get me wrong here… this summer has NOT been a complete bed of roses. Sometimes, I have had to be the mean mom and ‘force’ her to do school work and in those times, I seriously question whether we will survive this homeschool adventure; and then there are those times where everything is fantastic- there is no begging or whining or yelling, work is done with zero complaints and in those moments, I KNOW we have made the right choice and this will be the greatest adventure of our lives. I really like those times. how we homeschool This is how we get down with homeschooling and work and babies on some mornings…

By the time mid July rolled around, I had read our curriculum of choice from beginning to end for our chosen level and year, written a scope for the first week of school (which I have decided I will do weekly, instead of monthly or yearly), organized Kaira’s notebook, learned what a lapbook was and how to make them and even created a detailed list of field trip locations in Virginia- a list that is ever growing, by the way. I even convinced my family (a group of extremely pro public school people) that this was the best thing for Kaira; I could handle the task of educating her (despite having a head/brain injury) and managing also to get them just as (if not more than) excited as Kaira and I were about our new adventure. Finally, I wrote a Home Economics curriculum- using all free materials, naturally- because I could not find one that suited all of our needs. We were ready. We were definitely set. I was ready to just jump in. Kaira, however, was not…

It’s a good thing I didn’t force the issue. It was around this time that some ugly truths started creeping into our homeschool adventure. Let me preface my next statements with this: I do not think public school is a bad choice. I believe public school works and is best for some people. I do not think all teachers are great and I do not think all teachers are horrible. Now, having said all of that, I will say this: Public School failed my child. Teachers failed her by not giving her a chance to learn the material at her own pace or in giving her the proper encouragement/tools needed to be successful and in the language and attitudes they used during their instruction time. In general, any employee of the school system failed my child by allowing these behaviors to continue in their efforts to maintain a passing score on a test that has no baring or standing in my child’s academic life. I first noticed these intruders when Kaira told me she didn’t ask for help, because I was just going to tell her to get over it and do the work… (I would never say that and have never said that, but because this had been her experience in public school, this was her perceptive) It again reared its uninvited ugly self, when Kaira said “I’m horrible at this. I’m never going to get it.” (When in fact, she had been getting it, when allowed to learn at a pace she picked)

 

This is how we de-school, pretty nifty, huh?

I knew that how I handled these intrusions of public school past would determine how our adventure went as we moved forward. The first time it happened, I advised Kaira to take a break and go have fun. Later, I sat with her and we went over everything together and she grasped the idea (imagine that). The second time, having done some more research, we took a break and did some de-schooling. (We had fun. We baked monster mash cup cakes. We made colored ice and then painted with it. We swam. We went to amusement parks. We had loads of fun.) The best part of our de-schooling? Kaira, without being prompted in any way, told people she was still learning and how she was still learning. (It was awesome and definitely goes down as a proud mom moment!)

Before we can fully jump in, we needed to address one final issue- and that is none other than the old “socialization” concern. I admit, I used to be one of those people asking the question, “but how will they socialize?” I wish I could go back in time and erase that from any conversation I have ever had where I uttered that phrase. When I am asked that question now, I really want to say something like ‘noneya’- BUT since my mom and grandparents raised me with more than a bit of decorum, respect and manners AND since I invited you on this adventure, I will not say that. This summer, Kaira has interacted with her best friend; played with people at the pool, participated in 4H (and some of their horse shows); she has talked to people about riding horses; she has developed SEVERAL pen pal friends; she went to a S.T.E.A.M. Conference for girls (where she met and interacted with other girls, all day. Shocking, I know); in a week she will leave me for sleep away camp (she will be fine, I will not) AND at some point in August, she will do a one day camp at the zoo, where she will not only have to communicate with people, but she will get to do it with animals, as well. I think we got socialization covered, don’t you? If you still have concerns, let me try one last time to assuage your (not my) fears… she talks to people. She is shy by nature, but very capable of conversing with adults and children. In fact, she has been known to spot a person in uniform and approach them and thank them for their service to the United States. I think she can handle not being in a square room of 20 or 30 people the same age as her…

Well, now, we are ready to jump in. Almost. We’ve decided to save the jumping for after camp… In the mean time, we’re gonna just stick to our summer schedule and enjoy our time together…

If you enjoyed reading, we would love for you to follow us, like this post and share it with your friends! If you would like the monster mash recipe, a copy of the Virginia field trip list or my Home Ec curriculum, please leave us a comment and we’ll get it to you as soon as possible! Also, we would love to hear your stories of getting ready and set for school (whatever school is for you)- so leave us a comment telling us all about it!

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10 thoughts on “Ready. Set. Jump In.

  1. I think what you’re doing for your child is inspiring. I hated school, and I don’t think it was because I wasn’t smart enough but I didn’t do well in large groups so my attention span wasn’t there. I think if I had one on one schooling, I would have picked it up a lot faster. I’m sure it’s going to be hard work, but you appear to be a very loving and dedicated Mother and that’s a beautiful thing. Good luck to you both! Kaira is lucky to have you 🙂 X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was homeschooled in elementary and am currently homeschooling another child (family friend). Isn’t it so nice to have the time to just let them take a break and freely return back to work on the problem? Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is nice… I’m still working on that aspect of home schooling- walking away and coming back to a thing. Some days I’m spot on and others, I feel like we are “behind”… I hope those times will eventually whittle down to never happen, though. How long have you home schooled for your friend? Do you think you’ll homeschool your own children?

      Like

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